Venus Williams pulls out of U.S. Open citing autoimmune disease
Tennis pro Venus Williams advanced to the second round of the U.S. Open Monday after defeating Vesna Dolonts.
August 31st, 2011
06:42 PM ET

Venus Williams pulls out of U.S. Open citing autoimmune disease

Venus Williams withdrew from the U.S. Open before her second-round match Wednesday, citing an autoimmune disease diagnosis.

"I have been recently diagnosed with Sjögren's syndrome, an autoimmune disease which is an ongoing medical condition that affects my energy level and causes fatigue and joint pain," the two-time U.S. Open winner said in a statement.

"I enjoyed playing my first match here and wish I could continue but right now I am unable to. I am thankful I finally have a diagnosis and am now focused on getting better and returning to the court soon."

Williams, 31, was scheduled to play Sabine Lisicki on Wednesday at New York's Arthur Ashe stadium, according to SI.com. She advanced to the second round after defeating Vesna Dolonts on Monday, earning almost as much attention for her outfit as her game.

Sjögren's syndrome is a disease that is sometimes linked to rheumatic problems such as rheumatoid arthritis, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. It causes dryness in the mouth and eyes and may also affect joints, lungs, kidneys, blood vessels, digestive organs and nerves.

Most people who get Sjögren's syndrome are older than 40. Nine of 10 are women.

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Filed under: Sports • Tennis
soundoff (85 Responses)
  1. mjh

    JUST ONCE WHEN CNN BLOG SAYS THIS JUST IN I WOULD LIKE TO ENTER A SIE WHERE WE ERE GIVEN ABSOLUTE TRUST TO GIVE FEEDBACK TO ARTICLES THAT HAVE BEEN POSTED THERES NO EXCUSE FOR RUDE BEHAVIOR AND YOU SHOULD BE SO LUCKY NOT TO HAVE SOMEONE KNOCKING ON YOUR DOOR AND ARRESTING YOU FOR THE DEGRADING INSULTS "FOR ALL OF AMERICA"

    August 31, 2011 at 11:43 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Spencer McDougal

    This is a symptom of injecting steroids, threatening to kill line judges, and being male. Her sister suffers from the same malady.

    August 31, 2011 at 11:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • DRMURRAY

      No one can be as stupid as you, grow up.

      September 1, 2011 at 9:16 am | Report abuse |
  3. cyberCMDR

    Wow, so much misinformation and stupidity. Sjogrens is an autoimmune disease, like lupus, that can affect a host of organs within the body. It is most likely hereditary; you don't get it from taking steroids. While most people associate it with dry eyes, it can impact any organ or gland producing liquids. It is also known to cause a number of systemic neurological effects, which can cause various kinds of dystonia (spastic muscles). Like most autoimmune diseases, it can cause a lot of pain and fatigue, and to date there is no cure.

    September 1, 2011 at 12:36 am | Report abuse |
  4. Ginger

    God bless you and keep you Venus Williams. Thank you for bringing so much joy and magic to the sport of tennis. You have been admired by so many all over the world. You have inspired people who have had nothing, but with grit and determination made success in life despite to many adversities. We will life you up in our prayers for healing, and peace on this journey. Love to you and your family!

    September 1, 2011 at 1:51 am | Report abuse |
  5. Gavin

    I hope she has a quick and easy recovery. Go Venus!

    September 1, 2011 at 2:00 am | Report abuse |
    • Tuppencecat

      I don't think that Sjögren's is a disease that heals or goes away, but, it can be managed. I agree, I hope she does well and returns to tennis. It is a joy to watch her play.

      September 1, 2011 at 8:24 am | Report abuse |
    • letsgomets2011

      This is an autoimmune disease. It's chronic but it is manageable.

      September 1, 2011 at 8:24 pm | Report abuse |
  6. s kel

    leanore damn you sure dont think "old". More like the mindset of a two year old with that statment. And as for steve ,well hes just an ignorant fool.

    September 1, 2011 at 2:27 am | Report abuse |
  7. Mazeman

    Playing the race card, for no reason. And you are insinuating someone else is racist? Go figure ..

    September 1, 2011 at 3:58 am | Report abuse |
  8. Hinterarsch

    Venus and her sister have done great things for womens tennis. It is time to hand over the reign. Job well done and now enjoy your millions.

    September 1, 2011 at 4:39 am | Report abuse |
    • MSB

      Let's see, Pam Shriver retired at 34, Chris Evert retired at 35, Martina Navratilova retired at 37, should Anna Kournikova retire also, she's 30?

      September 1, 2011 at 8:46 am | Report abuse |
    • f

      She's 31? That's scary. She looks like she's 61.

      September 1, 2011 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
  9. George

    You're a class act Venus. Get better soon.

    September 1, 2011 at 5:50 am | Report abuse |
    • betty barnes

      Class act? You're kidding right?

      September 1, 2011 at 8:49 am | Report abuse |
  10. Frost

    Creep

    September 1, 2011 at 6:31 am | Report abuse |
  11. hcgsupercharged

    Get well soon, Venus! You are strong!

    September 1, 2011 at 7:47 am | Report abuse |
  12. Kexessa

    Omg, what on earth does race have to do with this story? I'm SICK of the race card being pulled out and slapped down EVERY SINGLE DAY OVER EVERY LITTLE THING that happens on this planet. SICK of it. If people like you would stop keeping racism alive, maybe it would not be such a big issue.

    September 1, 2011 at 8:24 am | Report abuse |
  13. TRouble

    Hey Vrim – take your foot out of your big fat mouth.

    September 1, 2011 at 8:25 am | Report abuse |
  14. MeanMarine92

    You are a JACK ASS!!!!

    September 1, 2011 at 8:39 am | Report abuse |
  15. David

    So... Her diagnosis is... Getting old?

    September 1, 2011 at 8:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Marinda

      Sjogren's Syndrome is not about getting old. It means your body produces antibodies that attack certain parts of your body. Your salivary glands, your joints, your eyes. It can cause extreme fatigue, skin problems, major eye problems, gum disease, tooth decay at a very excellerated rate. You can live with it, it will not usually kill you, however you do need to follow instructions and take the medications.

      Getting old does not mean you develope antibodies that attack you. Generally the people diagnosed with Sjogren's are white, 40+ females. Often the diagnosis is delayed when you do not fit into that demographic. It is not getting old!

      Good luck to Ms. Williams. I was diagnosed at age 31 with the disease as well. It affects my eyes, ears, mouth, skin, and joints. You can lead a very normal life once you get it under control and start treating it.

      September 1, 2011 at 9:45 am | Report abuse |
    • penquin3

      @ David – even children can suffer with this disease, as they can from all forms of arthritis when it is autoimmune in nature. It does not have to do with getting old, there is no cure, just possible management or remission if you take the right meds. Check out the Arthritis Foundation's website.

      September 1, 2011 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
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